I don’t really write this kind of thing very often. So you’ll have to bear with me if this turns out even more rambly than usual. Originally, I had meant to post this last week to coincide with Guy Fawkes Night, but scheduling got the better of me, as it always seems to these days. But with so many people talking about Halloween throughout October, and my personal lack of nostalgia for that holiday, I felt like I wanted to present my alternative Autumn experience.
And I really need to get this out now, because the transition between summer and winter feels like it only takes a couple of weeks these past few years.
While this year was the most time I’d invested into talking about Halloween, two whole posts about it, it also made me realise that I really don’t feel that strongly about Halloween at all. Most of this came from a blog tag I saw Irina post on her fantastic blog at drunkenanimeblog.com. I felt compelled to jump on that bandwagon and give my feelings on the holiday as well. Only, when I started reading the questions in the post, I realised just how divorced my Halloween experience was from that of people in the U.S. and Canada.
I’ve never trick or treated or bobbed for apples. And I’ve only ever been to a Halloween costume party once, during my time at University. I realised that quintessential Halloween experience I’ve seen represented in American media for so many years is something I’ve only ever really experienced through osmosis of consuming so much American media over the years.
By comparison, Halloween here in the U.K. is a very anaemic shade of the holiday as it exists elsewhere. Not to be the Scrooge of Halloween, but it’s an entirely consumerist driven event over here. Only really celebrated by parents with young children and students looking for an excuse to party in funny/sexy costumes. Maybe that’s not all that different than how people view it over the sea, but I feel like the older generation are more likely to ignore the holiday entirely other than getting into the fun and spirit of the trick or treat night.
Not helped at all by the fact that there’s a 75% chance that Halloween night will be playing host to torrential rainfall and gale-force winds. Gotta love that British weather.
Looking back at my adolescence, while Halloween was never really a thing for me growing up, I still adored Autumn. I still do. I am a person whose spiritually more comfortable in cold weather than hot weather. I love early nights, I love wrapping up warm, I love a crisp cold morning. The colours in the trees and the prospect of Christmas on the horizon. Summer is great and all, but this time of year is just so much more “me”.
The crown jewel of autumn in my adolescence being the 5th of November: Guy Fawkes Night, or as most people around me growing up called it: Bonfire Night.
Looking at it from the outside, it seems like a really weird day to commemorate. I’m guessing most people reading this will at least have a cursory awareness of the events of 1605, the gunpowder plot and Guy Fawkes involvement in the plot to try and blow up the House of Lords. At the very least you should have seen the name mentioned during graphic novel/movie “V for Vendetta” and how that Guy Fawkes mask became a symbol of the hacking group “Anonymous”.
It’s kinda weird that us here in England celebrate the prevention of an act of terrorism 400 years ago, and the major name involved has become something of a symbol of rebellion and anti-oppression moves in the time since.
I didn’t care about any of that when I was a kid though. The most important thing for me was being stood in some field, in front of this massive bonfire, waving sparklers around and watching varying qualities of fireworks being let off from all around. It strange, the whole event never really felt like some celebration of whatever the night was supposed to be harkening back to, to me it simply encapsulated everything I love about Autumn into a single event.
Out on a crisp, cold night. Wrapped in layers of warm clothes and stood in front of a roaring fire. Holding a hot chocolate and crunching on the dried, yellow leaves on the ground while fireworks illuminated the sky above me. Just thinking about it now makes me melancholy about the fact that I haven’t been to a bonfire for over a decade at this point. It’s a purely nostalgic feeling for me at this point. Again, like with Halloween, made all the more sparring by the fact that you’re really relying on Britain’s famously unpredictable weather to literally rain on your parade.
Even as write this, there’s a thick morning fog outside of my window. And I’m just sat here, with a coffee listening to some chill beats compilation on YouTube. For being stuck inside during our second national lockdown here in Britain, I don’t feel like there’s a better, cosier time for me be here thinking about how much I enjoy this time of year.
Still though, I’m sad to think of all the things I’ve missed out on this year thanks to COVID-19, if anything it’s been a nice piece of motivation for me to get out there and do even more next year when we’re finally on the side of this. And fingers crossed, if I’m able, I’m going to attend a bonfire next year and make the absolute most out of Autumn of 2021.